Fitness First has pulled out of the race to acquire long-time gym chain rival LA fitness, Health Club Management understands.
Several sources have indicated that Fitness First is no longer in the running to acquire the 44-club LA fitness portfolio, which has been valued at around £80m.
Fitness First was understood to have been planning to use partial funds from the ongoing sale of its 80-club strong German arm for a swoop on LA fitness. The German deal was originally expected to have been tied up in January, however delays in the conclusion of this sale have been suggested as one of the reasons for the withdrawal. A Fitness First spokesperson declined to comment.
Pure Gym, Sports Direct Fitness and Terra Firma Capital Partners – led by private equity investor Guy Hands – have all been linked to the bidding process for LA fitness and are believed to remain in contention. Sports Direct and Terra Firma Capital Partners declined to comment, while Pure Gym and LA fitness did not immediately respond to requests.
One well-placed source has described the LA fitness bidding process as “long-winded”, however the lure of a strong foothold in London is likely to remain a big draw – particularly for Pure Gym and Sports Direct Fitness who hold the bulk of their existing gym sites in the north of England. LA fitness boasts an enviable property footprint in London with 22 sites, including two ‘premiumised’ LAX clubs, which have reportedly enjoyed initial success.